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Our 2023 Christmas Letter


Merry Christmas from our crew to yours! We are in disbelief that another year has come and gone and continue to be grateful for all we have today. 2023 was a year of growth, graduations, change, and loss. John and Deanna inch closer to being empty nesters and can't belief they have 3 ADULT children now! Our lives as parents have seen a shift more this year as our oldest kid moved across the the country and the thought of the next season of our life is pretty exciting. We celebrated 25 years of marriage in August and hope to take an international trip at the beginning of 2024 to celebrate. We were able to take a few trips this year together along with a few trips with different kids. These adventures continue to be a favorite part of each year and the memories made have been incredible. Deanna and Joshua took a trip to Utah this summer before he went back to college and saw multiple National Parks. This peaked a new bucket list interest for Deanna who is now trying to visit every US National Park before she dies. We're always amazed at God's creation in these places that are unlike other areas of the same state they are in. Here is a picture at Bryce Canyon (UT) and Mount Rainer (WA). And here's a little snapshot of what each of our crew did in 2023!

John spent the last year as a Training Director at Chik-fil-A working along side some really great people. He enjoyed the hospitality industry much more than he thought he would and was able to visit the CFA headquarters in GA where he took this picture in Truett Kathy's office earlier this year. His goal for the year was to help with employee retention/culture and improve the store which he accomplished. John has decided to begin the CFA Operator application where he would operate a CFA franchise store. This process can take up to 2 years and isn't guaranteed when you apply, but he's going to try. The possibility of business leadership again is exciting as well as a potential move to where an open CFA would be. We're hoping to have some kind of update for you in our next Christmas letter update as he's about 6 months into the process now. John's dad, Gary, passed away unexpectedly on Mother's Day this year from a heart attack. We had spent the day before with him at Ashlyn's graduation in Kirksville. We are thankful we moved out to KC in 2001 to be closer to John's parents and are so thankful for the time we all had with them and the memories we all made together living so close. It's still hard to believe both of his parents are gone already. In November, John decided to leave CFA to rest and be home for the holidays with everyone while they are home. He is planning to job search and hopefully start something new in January while we wait out the CFA application process. He also continues to be a part of his Business Mentor group, Partners Worldwide in El Salvador, and involved in our church. 

Deanna was a Door Dasher for the beginning part of 2023 and later decided to begin her own design business, Hanson Crew Design. She completes project lists for clients, which includes painting walls, making board and batten walls, painting furniture, decorating, organizing, and anything else they need done. Her client list has been friends mainly this year, but she's excited for the extra money and for the flexibility this job offers. She will officially launch her website in January and start taking new jobs after the holidays. She took a trip to Maine this fall with her friend Lisa to see Acadia National Park, a trip with her mom to the Great Smokies, a trip to Utah with Joshua, Dallas with Jonathan, and then drove out to Washington with Ashlyn to see a few more National Parks. She has made stops at a few other NPs on road trips this year as well. She is at 22/63 so far! Bear continues to stay by her side when she's at home and not traveling. She's getting old and loves being home alone with John and Deanna lately. Along with a few house projects of her own this year, Deanna also serves at our church, spends time with friends and her mom, and loves to visit Ashlyn and Joshua when she can.

Ashlyn launched in 2023, graduating Magna Cum Laude and debt free from Truman State University in May with a Computer Science degree and moving to Seattle to begin her new career with Amazon in June. We enjoyed the beautiful drive our there with her bearded dragon Barry and setup her new apartment which is right across the street from her Amazon building. Ashlyn is enjoying public transportation, downtown living, and being part of her AWS team. She was able to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year before her on call duties start. She is getting used to the rainy weather of Seattle and enjoys visits from friends and family throughout the year, and of course hanging out with her bearded dragon Barry. If you're ever in Seattle, let her know so she can meet up with you.

Joshua started his sophomore year at Missouri S&T this year still majoring in Chemical Engineering. He was a groomsman in a good friends wedding this fall and was able to visit home a little more than usual. He is active in a couple fraternities (still living with Sig Ep) and enjoys the BSU and his church. He will begin a co-op and internship with Cargill in January in Iowa Falls, IA. He's excited for the break from classes and the opportunity to work in a biodiesel plant working as a Chemical Engineer. He'll still be 4 hours from home, but this time northeast of us instead of southeast. He's nervous for the colder weather and being in a new small town alone, but is thankful for the opportunity and the chance to have his own place for 7 months after being in a frat house for a couple years. Joshua and Deanna took an amazing road trip through Utah this summer where Joshua saw Zion for the first time. We hiked the Narrows and he said that is his new favorite place in the US. Joshua also entered his 20s this year and visited Ashlyn in Seattle in the fall (picture at the top of her apt building).

Caleb officially became an adult in April this year and also graduated. He earned honors at his trade school he attended for HVAC and finished high school with a 3.9 GPA. Caleb began working full time for Climate Control Heating and Cooling in January and has worked in both the install and service departments there so far. He has a serious girlfriend Caitlin, who he spends most of his free time with. He is living in our basement saving money for a down payment to buy a house, although we rarely see him. He bought a truck this year, which has been on his bucket list for years and still enjoys going to the races when he can. Caleb continues to help his mom around the house with projects she needs professional help with and dreams of starting to learn real estate soon. We're still trying to plan his "senior" trip like we did with Ashlyn and Joshua and are hoping to get in on the calendar in 2024 when he's willing to take time off.

Jonathan is 16 and a legal driver in MO. Since getting his license and his part time job at CFA, we rarely see him too. His social commits, school and work take up most of his time. Jonathan is a junior this year in high school and enjoys Young Life with his friends, tennis, and summer swim. Ashlyn gifted her old car to Jonny along with her old bedroom when she moved :) Because of his work and school activities schedule, we enjoy dinner with Jonathan a few times a week. He was given his grandpa's gaming computer he built right before he passed away and sometimes plays video games along with thrift store shopping for vintage clothes. Jonathan has also found a new interest in photography and collects vintage digital cameras (if you are disposing of the old 90s cameras let us know). Here's a picture of his friends at Homecoming this year and a picture from Young Life camp.

Thanks for staying in touch with us through the year via social media, texts, calls, and visits. We love our city (Go Chiefs) and would love for you to come visit if you haven't soon. We are still in pondering how quickly the years go by and how grown up everyone has become in our crew. We shared these photos on the front of our Christmas card this year, but I thought I would share them again here. In 2008 and 2022. If you told the 2008 parents in this photo how quickly the time would go by, I don't think they would have believed you. Now, it is a treasure to spend time together and it's such a joy to see them flourish in their own lives. What a joy and blessing parenthood is! Leave us a comment and let us know what you have been up too.

With love, 
John and Deanna Hanson
(and the rest of our crew)